The very last issue of Gourmet sits in a stack along with the most recent issues of Saveur, Bon Appetit, and Food & Wine — all barely touched. Holiday catalogs I’d rather not receive lay scattered in the mix as well reminding me that I should probably pay attention. How can it be the end of November? The month has flown by and with it my favorite season of the year, leaving only a few days to think about recipes I’d like to try this year for Thanksgiving. Outside of making a simple list of traditional dishes and leaving it to sit on the kitchen counter, I’m still not prepared.
I’ve accepted that this just won’t be the year to try yet another way to mash and flavor potatoes with the likes of parsnips or roasted garlic, white truffle oil or black truffle shavings. I won’t have to wonder why a stuffing recipe calls for freshly made cornbread that has to sit on the counter for a day before it can be cubed and tossed with other ingredients to make an herby stuffing. And I’ve decided that deep-frying a ton of microscopically thin onion rings to flavor a new spin on the classic green bean casserole won’t be happening, either, even though it was quite a fabulous recipe. No, we’re going to be relatively conservative this year which is why I was able to spend some time in the kitchen today trying a new recipe with some of my favorite flavors: apples, pecans, and cinnamon with a hint of orange.
David Guas’ Spiced Upside-Down Apple Bundt Cake was perfect from the moment I saw it in Food & Wine’s “Last Bite.” Even though I’ve never owned a bundt pan, it was the least of my worries because the recipe calls for buttermilk. Whenever I buy buttermilk, it gets pushed to the back of the fridge and is forgotten until long after the date stamped on it, then ends up down the drain. Not this time! I found it with a day to spare — not that I could tell given its characteristic pungent smell.
How does one tell whether buttermilk is sour when it always smells badly? It’s a very good thing that it works so nicely as a cooking ingredient, don’t you think?